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Coastal cliff open space

We manage over 6 kilometres of coastal cliff open space stretching along the coastline of our Forest. This space is a great draw for locals and tourists and include quays, promenades and coastal grassland.

On this page:

Activities within our open spaces

Providing you are able to safely access the open space, there are a number of activities making your visit a perfect day out such as:

  • walking
  • cycling whilst adhering to local restrictions
  • picnicking
  • enjoying the views and local wildlife

If you would like clarification of any other leisure activity or would like to apply for permission to use the open space contact our open spaces team at

Flying recreational drones from our open space areas is not permitted as it can be dangerous and annoying to other visitors. If you wish to fly a drone for commercial purposes, for film and survey, within any of our public open space areas, you must contact us to attain permission before your flight.

Report a problem or make an enquiry

You can also make a report by calling customer services on 023 8028 5000.

If you are reporting damage to our lifesaving equipment or have found an issue which may cause imminent danger, call customer services on 023 8028 5000.

If you wish to hold an event on our coastal open space, contact our licensing department.

Visiting our open spaces

There are many benches and waste bins placed for your convenience; however, if a waste bin is full please take your litter home so that others may enjoy the area at its best.

Dogs must always be under the owner's control. Dog waste can be deposited in all mixed waste bins, if these are full please take it home with you.

We ask you only use designated beach access paths and steps to minimise danger to yourself and damage to our fragile cliff ecology.

For your safety, do not stand close to the cliff edges and follow local warning signs.

To find your closest public toilet or coastal safety equipment you can search our online map system.


We welcome cyclists to our coast. To ensure safety to yourself and other visitors you need to observe local signage which provides local guidance.

Local restrictions may require cyclists to dismount allowing safe access for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Maintain a safe speed and respect other users.

Some areas adjacent to our open space areas are very narrow and subject to coastal erosion. For your safety, do not cycle close to the cliff edges and observe local warning signage. Ride responsibly and be courteous to other users.

Our responsibilities

Our open space is maintained for local resident and tourist enjoyment, but we also take into consideration natural sustainability and public safety.

The coastline is very important to local and national ecology. Areas are used as a stop for migratory birds and as a home for rare Cliff Bees and the very tiny Black Oil Beetles. To improve this protected habitat, we have introduced coastal wildflower areas and wildlife friendly mowing regimes.

Hordle Cliff at Milford-on-Sea is maintained under a Vegetation Management Plan to ensure the best possible habitat for our local flora and fauna. 

Milford-on-Sea Clifftop Vegetation Management Plan (PDF) [1MB] (opens new window)

Much of our costal area is protected by natural designations. You can find Natural Designations using DEFRA's mapping system.

Beach huts and coastal management

If you have a query about beach huts, coastal protection or beaches, please visit our New Forest coast section.

If you require vehicle access to the clifftop for beach hut maintenance works to load/unload heavy items, you can apply for a Coastal Clifftop Access Permit. 

Apply for an access permit (Word doc) [44KB]  

Please email all completed applications to at least five working days prior to required access date.

There is no charge for this application, but please note your use of the clifftop must not impact the access or enjoyment of other users.

Contact us if you wish to discuss your requirements further.  

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